Delivering his country’s promised aid along with a message of solidarity, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas arrived in Lebanon on Wednesday.
Upon landing at Beirut-Rafik Hariri International Airport, Maas handed over the first batch of Germany’s immediate humanitarian aid package, which amounts to €20 million ($23.5 million).
As part of that aid, the official gave the Lebanese Red Cross a cheque for nearly $1.2 million to be implemented for helping the people affected by the August 4th explosion that killed at least 171 individuals.
Reportedly, throughout his short stay in Lebanon, Minister Maas will not meet with any Lebanese officials except for President Michel Aoun.
Before his departure from Germany, Maas said that he wanted to “gain an impression” of the situation and the consequences of the explosion, “and convey our condolences and support to the victims and their families.”
He also voiced concern regarding Lebanon’s current political scene, urging reforms, and promising his country’s support if these reforms are implemented.
“The country needs a strong new start and radical economic reforms,” he said, noting, “it’s impossible that things go on as before.”
This call for change has been recurrent since before the devastating Beirut Port explosion led to the Lebanese government’s resignation and ultimately added to Lebanon’s instability.
World leaders have – as have the Lebanese people – consistently urged Lebanese officials to implement serious reforms in order to gain the international community’s trust and financial support.
“The international community is ready to invest but needs securities for these investments. It is important to have a government that fights corruption,” Heiko Maas stressed.
The resignation of the Lebanese government presents an opportunity for Lebanon to clear its reputation with the world through a new government that is both devoid of corruption and armed with a sincere commitment to rebuild the fallen state.